Faith Formation at Santa Barbara

Posted on Sep 19, 2017 in Faith Formation, SY 2017-2018 | 0 comments


By Jhoanna Co
From the Umatuna Si Yu’os

“I learned that God really loves us.”

“I liked that we got to know more about our classmates, their lives.”

“I like the activities… they taught us more about God.”

These were some reflections of fourth grade students at Santa Barbara Catholic School who were first to experience a retreat this academic year held on Aug. 29 and 31, 2017.

SBCS conducts retreats annually as part of the school’s Faith Formation program, and students from 4th to 8th grade are able to participate after they’ve received the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist usually during 3rd grade.

Retreats are designed to help students form and deepen their relationship with God and one another, as well as to strengthen the Mercy charism of the school.

The themes that the school adapts are grounded on the following Mercy Core Values (common to Mercy Schools all over the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas):  Dignity of the Human Person, Compassion, Justice, and Stewardship of the Earth.

“The most helpful part was when we all sat down together and prayed as a family,” said one student.

“I learned that God’s love is stronger than any love in the world,” said another. At the end of the day, the students came away from the retreat refreshed and centered on God.

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SY 2017-2018: Open Doors at SBCS

Posted on Aug 22, 2017 in SY 2017-2018 | Comments Off on SY 2017-2018: Open Doors at SBCS

Santa Barbara Catholic School (SBCS) faculty and staff gathered from August 1-7 for their annual recollection and orientation in preparation for the new school year.

Fr. Fran Hezel of Santa Barbara Catholic Church presided over the first day recollection and mass. New principal, Sister Maria Rosario Gaite, RSM set the tone for the year with an inspiring welcome message that brought into focus the ministry of SBCS as a “Mercy school” in these dynamic times. As its new head of school she recognizes the responsibility and stated that, “The call to be a principal is a call to professional leadership. It is a call to be the visionary and lead teacher. It is a call to express the Gospel.” She encouraged teachers to view this coming school year as a year for opening doors. In her message Sister Maria Rosario said, “As I begin my new role as principal, I pray that we may open the door of collaboration….open the door of mercy….open the door of service. From yesterday’s recollection with Fr. Fran, we acknowledged that teaching in a Catholic School is a vocation and a mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ. It is a call to service not for our sake but for the sake of the school community. It is a call to proclaim and put into action the love and mercy of God to our students. It is a call to be a healing presence to our students and to protect them from negative influences that may harm them…. I am hopeful that with all of us working together, united in the same vision and mission of SBCS, we will be able to surge on as we educate the mind, heart, and spirit of our students.”

Throughout the week, faculty and staff engaged in reflection and prayer centered on the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns: nonviolence, racism, reverence for the earth, women and immigration. Ms. Bernadette Alcantara, Assistant to the Principal for Formation, facilitated the reflection sessions and activities. Mrs. Arleen Suplido, Curriculum Director, discussed procedures and changes to schedules and other requirements.

The orientation was capped with a special commissioning and blessing of faculty and staff with the words from St. Pope John Paul II’s homily for the inauguration of his pontificate, “Do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Open wide the doors for Christ.”; and a Mercy Blessing from the Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy, “May the Spirit of God find a home in us. Amen. May the Spirit of God animate us. Amen. May the Spirit of God create new hearts in us. Amen.” And with that everyone was ready to open the doors to new beginnings and possibilities!


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